Colorado Springs Gang Crime Defense Attorney
Aggressive Defense for Gang-Related Charges
While gangs are diverse in their origins, purposes, and activities, street gang crime is typically defined by law enforcement as a group of more than three people who take part in illegal actions and operate as a posse under a shared name or mark. This is a fairly wide definition, which makes "gang crimes" applicable to a number of activities that might not otherwise be considered quite as serious.
Gang-related charges include felonies and misdemeanors, which can include harsh penalties if a defendant is convicted. If you or someone you know has been charged with an offense and treated as a gang member, it is important to obtain legal representation that knows how to handle these types of cases. The Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyers at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., have decades of experience defending against criminal cases; give us a call today at (719) 475-2555 for a free consultation so we can help you understand your options.
Does Gang Activity Really Matter?
Someone certainly does not need to be in a gang to be charged with a crime, but perceived gang membership can have an impact on the charges a person faces and what kind of defense he or she can use against them. Association with gang members can potentially widen who is accused of a crime. Authorities often look at:
- Crimes committed by persons thought to be part of a gang, regardless of whether the crime was tied to gang initiatives; and
- Crimes committed by members thought to be part of a gang that are regarded as tied to gang-related benefits or initiatives.
That said, it is also agreed by experts that a significant amount of crime committed by members of gangs is self-involved and unrelated to gang function. The severity of crimes and the level of illicit activity fluctuate considerably between gangs and members.
One of the biggest impacts a gang crime conviction can have is that the person convicted is entered into a database of gang members in Colorado. This database includes information such as:
- The person's name, along with any aliases
- The person's last-known address
- Information about previous arrests
- Information about other gang contacts and associates
This kind of information is tracked and can remain a part of someone's background, making it difficult to find employment, make large purchases, and otherwise live a normal life in the future.
How Is Gang Crime Defined in Colorado?
The assessment of gang crimes is very similar on a state level as it is on the federal. Colorado gang law is defined in CRS § 18-23-101. The law describes a criminal gang as:
"Any ongoing organization, association, or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal."
The Colorado law elaborates on gang identification as having "one of its primary objectives or activities the commission of one or more predicate criminal acts; and whose members individually or collectively engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity." The "pattern of criminal gang activity" is defined as the "commission, attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation of two or more predicate criminal acts which are committed on separate occasions or by two or more persons."
What Are Common Types of Gang Crime?
Punishment by law for gang-related crimes varies based on the severity and circumstances of the act committed, and the charges often include felonies and jail time. Common types of gang crimes include but are not limited to the following:
- Drug Trafficking: The dealing of illegal controlled substances is a typical gang-related crime. Drugs may include marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin.
- Robbery: Robberies of businesses, homes, and other locations are sometimes gang related.
- Theft: Both violent and non-violent, can be part of gang activity.
- Violent Crimes: Various kinds of assault on members of a rival gang are routinely seen gang crimes.
- Homicide: The murder of any individual for gang purposes and initiatives is obviously the most severe level of gang crime, with repercussions ranging from long jail sentences to the death penalty.
What Happens If I'm Accused of a Gang Crime?
If you or someone you know has been arrested, or you are worried that you will be soon, the first thing to know is that you should not say anything. One of the first things police tell you upon arrest is that you have the right to remain silent: exercise that right and do not answer any questions. Immediately request legal representation and wait for your lawyer to be present before considering any questions or offers the police or prosecution may have.
The legal system is complicated and intimidating. If you have been arrested, you will hear charges against you in court, have your accusers try to accost you, and be threatened by the prosecution with every horrible outcome imaginable. Do not be alarmed or scared by what they said to you – get a defense attorney immediately to fight for you and protect your rights.
The details of every case must be carefully evaluated to determine the appropriate and most effective course of action, but an experienced lawyer works with you to build the best defense against your accusation. The Colorado Springs gang crime lawyers at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., have decades of experience in criminal defense and know how to protect you. Call us today at (719) 475-2555 to discuss your case and learn about your options.
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